Bowser still tugged at his chain and whined, but after a little he quieted down. His master looked around behind the barn to see if he could see what had so stirred up Bowser, but nothing was to be seen, and he returned, patted Bowser once more, and went into the house, never once giving that open henyard gate another thought.
Half an hour later old Granny Fox joined Reddy Fox, who was waiting on the doorstep of their home. “It is all right, Reddy; that gate is open,” said she.
“How did you do it, Granny?” asked Reddy eagerly.
“Easily enough,” replied Granny. “I let Bowser get a glimpse of me just as his master was locking up the henhouse. Bowser made a great fuss, and of course, Farmer Brown’s boy hurried out to see what it was all about. He was in too much of a hurry to close that gate, and afterwards he forgot all about it or else he thought it didn’t matter. Of course, I didn’t let him get so much as a glimpse of me.”
“Of course,” said Reddy.
CHAPTER XXIV: A Midnight Visit
By those who win ’t is well
He’ll try and try who would succeed.
— Old Granny Fox.
It seemed to Reddy Fox as if time never had dragged so slowly as it did this particular night while he and Granny Fox waited until Granny thought it safe to visit Farmer Brown’s henhouse and see if by any chance there was a way of getting into it. Reddy tried not to hope too much. Granny had found a way to get the gate to the henyard left open, but this would do them no good unless there was some way of getting into the house, and this he very much doubted. But if there was a way he wanted to know it, and he was impatient to start.
But Granny was in no hurry. Not that she wasn’t just as hungry for a fat hen as was Reddy, but she was too wise and clever and altogether too sly to run any risks.
“There is nothing gained by being in too much of a hurry, Reddy,” said she, “and often a great deal is lost in that way. A fat hen will taste just as good a little later as it would now, and it will be foolish to go up to Farmer Brown’s until we are sure that everybody up there is asleep. But to ease your mind, I’ll tell you what we will do; we’ll go where we can see Farmer Brown’s house and watch until the last light winks out.”
So they trotted to a point where they could see Farmer Brown’s house, and there they sat down to watch. It seemed to Reddy that those lights never would wink out. But at last they did.
“Come on, Granny!” he cried, jumping to his feet.
“Not yet, Reddy. Not yet,” replied Granny. “We’ve got to give folks time to get sound asleep. If we should get into that henhouse, those hens might make a racket, and if anything like that is going to happen, we want to be sure that Farmer Brown and Farmer Brown’s boy are asleep.”
This was sound advice, and Reddy knew it. So with a groan he once more threw himself down on the snow to wait. At last Granny arose, stretched, and looked up at the twinkling stars. “Come on,” said she and led the way.